Thursday, June 10, 2010


Well, I've thought about it for a while, and I finally took the plunge. I've moved this blog over to WordPress. I'm still settling into my new blogging home, so things will be changing over the next few weeks, but the blog is up and running if you want to check it out.

Summertime fun...

The Summer Treasure Hunt is still going on, with dozens of prizes still waiting to be given away! Check out all the details here.

Coffee Time Romance is celebrating this month with June Jubilee. Each day, authors are featured and available to chat in the forums. To join the fun and enter to win some prizes, visit Coffee Time Romance. The Sweetest Romance Authors (including me) are featured today and will be chatting all day in their corner of the Java Junction.

My personal summertime fun this week is finishing up revisions on my first inspirational time travel romance manuscript (how's that for a mouthful?) and writing a synopsis for it. I'm sure that doesn't sound like much fun to most of you, but I see it as one step closer to getting it published. I still have to go through the submission process and pray it gets accepted, but I have a good feeling about this story. I'll keep you posted on any developments, such as a contract.

The other bit of summertime fun I'm enjoying this week, aside from gorgeous (if a bit hot) weather, is jumping rope and using my hula hoop. Sounds like kid stuff, right? Well, maybe it is, but that's beside the point. What is the point? I'm getting more in shape and I may have to buy a few things for my wardrobe soon. All that hula hooping is making waistbands fit more loosely. Can I get an amen for "kids" toys?

Have a great rest of the week, everyone, and don't forget to make time for your own bit of summertime fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2nd Annual "Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win" Contest!

Ready for a summer of fun and awesome prizes? Check out the details below for a Summer Treasure Hunt you don't want to miss!

Welcome to our second annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest! Last year, some author friends and I put together a month long contest where we gave away a prize a day for the entire month of June. The contest was so successful that my friends and I have decided to do it again…only this time we’ve gathered together enough prizes to last through the first week of July! Again, we have something for everyone: romance, fantasy, mystery, suspense, historicals, contemporaries, young adult and middle grade fiction; children’s picture books; and a variety of non-fiction titles. We also have some exciting non-book prizes: a hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case; a book/jewelry combo; a Mary Kay cosmetic assortment; a The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD; and (you aspiring writers won’t want to miss this one!) a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel by a three-time published author!

How can you enter to win one of these awesome prizes? Just follow the rules below!


You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRES to I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

All winners will be “drawn” by WWW.RANDOM.ORG.

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd-July 9th to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: Queen in Exile, (fantasy romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: The princess must rely upon her magic to save whom? (Hint: Look under “Bookshelf” tab)
WINNER: Amber Nielson of Vermont
ANSWER: Herself and her people from death and tyranny

June 2
SPONSOR: Laurie Lewis
PRIZE: Awakening Avery (women's fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Avery's signal that she isn't handling her husband's death very well comes to her when she tosses what into what? (Hint: Look under “books &reviews, then click on the cover to Awakening Avery and read the first chapter)
WINNER: Barbara Stilwell of Minnesota
ANSWER: The remote into the TV

June 3
PRIZE: Riley's Mission (PDF: romantic suspense)
QUESTION: Where does Jade sit after she sees Aziz Khadoul? (Hint: Click on “Books” tab, then on “excerpt” link for Riley’s Mission)
WINNER: Judy Cox of Louisiana
ANSWER: An empty wheelchair

June 4
SPONSOR: Jenna Dawlish
PRIZE: Sprig of Thyme (Victorian romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the hero in Jenna's first novel Love Engineered? (Check out “The Library” tab)
WINNER: Ginny Romney of Arizona
ANSWER: Charles Lucas

June 5
SPONSOR: Rachael Renee Anderson
PRIZE: Divinely Designed (contemporary LDS romantic comedy), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of Rachael's second book, being released in August? (Hint: scroll down to Rachael’s “Goodreads” titles on the right hand sidebar))
WINNER: Karin Tillotson of Pennsylvania
ANSWER: Luck of the Draw

June 6
SPONSOR: Linda Kay Garner
PRIZE: Some Secrets Hurt (picturebook), autographed copy, plus a handmade cuddling blanket. This picture book is for all ages. It is simple enough to be understood by a very young child, meaningful enough to appeal to teenagers, informative enough to be helpful to parents, and powerful enough to reach out to a wounded adult.
QUESTION: The only thing worse than finding out that your child is being sexually abused is ____ ____ ____? (Hint: Listen to 5 minute KSL TV interview on the right side of the website or dowload the free Parents’ Guide)
WINNER: Laura Lewis of North Carolina
ANSWER: Not finding out

June 7
SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne
PRIZE: (New/Sealed) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Widescreen DVD)
QUESTION: In Danielle Thorne's novel, Turtle Soup, what is the name of the marine biologist who inspires Sara Hart to name her deli Turtle Soup? (Hint: read the blurb for Turtle Soup on Danielle’s website homepage)
WINNER: Carol Rainbolt of Arizona
ANSWER: Jack Brandon

June 8
SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley
PRIZE: Lab Partners (sweet 1950’s romance), ebook
QUESTION: What are the first names of the hero and heroine in the short story Lab Partners? (Hint: Check out “WIP Report” post for April 4, 2010)
WINNER: Mina Gerhart
ANSWER: Leroy and Jody

June 9
SPONSOR: Linda Weaver Clarke
PRIZE: Melinda and the Wild West: (historical romance, YA and adult), autographed copy
QUESTION: What was Melinda doing when she first met Gilbert and why did he act flustered and then abruptly turn and briskly stride away? (Hint:. Click on “Sample Chapters” tab, then on the book title for Melinda and the Wild West to read a sample chapter.)
WINNER: Cassandra Cantrell of Utah
ANSWER: She was wading in a stream and her skirt was hiked up showing her legs and bare feet

June 10
SPONSOR: Angela Morrison
PRIZE: Taken by Storm (Penguin/Razorbill 2009), YA romance, autographed hard cover
QUESTION: A legendary LDS author of over 30 books for teens called Taken by Storm, "An amazing story written with a clear, refreshing and creative voice." Who was it? (Hint: check “Taken By Storm” tab)

June 11
SPONSOR: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
PRIZE: Trapped (romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: The first trap Emi Warrin encounters is a mysterious letter. To where does it lure her? (Hint: Read the book summary under the Trapped tab)

June 12
SPONSOR: Anne Patrick
PRIZE: Journey to Redemption (inspirational romantic suspense), free download
QUESTION: What did Royce use to do for a living in my upcoming release, Out of the Darkness? (Hint: Look under the “My Books” link for Anne’s new release, Out of the Darkness)

June 13
SPONSOR: Rebecca Talley
PRIZE: Altared Plans (contemporary LDS romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: What is unique about my youngest son? (Hint: Watch the YouTube video Extra C posted on the right side of Rebecca’s blog)

June 14
SPONSOR: David J. West
PRIZE: Heroes of the Fallen (historical fiction), autographed hardcopy)
QUESTION: What is the name of my favorite author? (Hint: Scroll through David’s June blogs. He promises you’ll find the answer!)

June 15
SPONSOR: Jennifer Stewart Griffith, author of Choosing Mr. Right and Delicious Conversation
PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages of a novel
QUESTION: What is the Japanese word for the hairstyle worn by sumo wrestlers? (Hint: Check out Jennifer’s favorite sumo blog, Sumo Beautiful. Look for Hama Bijin’s April 13th post)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES as long as the manuscript can be emailed to Jennifer and is in English

June 16
SPONSOR: Rebecca Irvine
PRIZE: Family Home Evening Adventures (non-fiction book of FHE lessons), free e-book on CD
QUESTION: What is the title of the first book written by Rebecca Irvine? (Hint: Read “about me” on Rebecca’s blog)

June 17
SPONSOR: Marilyn Bunderson
PRIZE: The Mark (YA Fiction), autographed copy with a bookmark
QUESTION: In a deleted scene from my book, The Mark, Jon loses a bet to Shae. What does he have to do to pay up? (Hint: Found in post titled "Deleted Scenes From The Mark" dated April 15, 2010)

June 18
SPONSOR: Heather Justesen
PRIZE: Winner’s Choice: The Ball’s In Her Court (contemporary inspirational) or Rebound (contemporary romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: How much did the FBI agent expect John's bail to be set at? (Hint: Click on "My Books" tab, then "read more" about Rebound.)

June 19
SPONSOR: Nichole Giles
PRIZE: The Sharp Edge of a Knife (inspirational historical, based on a true story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the correct title of the humorous anthology I coauthored? (Hint: Look in the right hand sidebar)

June 20
SPONSOR: Karen Adair
PRIZE: Trendy blue/brown crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case (Check out Karen’s “Diva Strings” website for examples:
QUESTION: Where did Karen learn how to type and what speed did she finally top out at? (Hint: Check Karen’s “Bio” tab)

June 21
SPONSOR: Lynn Parsons, co-author of the soon to be released non-fiction book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
PRIZE: A pair of hand-knit socks
QUESTION: What are three of the topics I list on the parent page of my website? (Look on “Parent Page” tab)

June 22
SPONSOR: Kinzie Monroe
PRIZE: Reservations for Two (inspirational romance), autographed CD
QUESTION: What was Maggie doing when she and Carson first met in Reservations for Two? (Hint: click on the “Excerpts” link on Kinzie’s blog)

June 23
SPONSOR: Michele Ashman Bell
PRIZE: Summer in Paris (YA romance), autographed copy and Eiffel Tower bookmark
QUESTION: What is Michele "dreaming of"? (Hint: found on sidebar above picture of Eiffel Tower

June 24
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant and JaysDesign Jewelry
PRIZE: A signed copy of Redemption, a Regency romance by Jaimey Grant, and a 19" hand-knotted strand of freshwater pearls ($45 value) handmade by Jay T Lyons of JaysDesign Jewelry
QUESTION: Artist Jay T Lyons did a sketch for the cover of an upcoming Regency romance of mine. What is the sketch of and what is the title of the upcoming book?

June 25
SPONSOR: Christine Thackeray
PRIZE: Lipstick Wars (LDS Women’s Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the angel who needs a vacation in my recent pamphlet, “Could You Be an Angel Today? (Hint: Play the book trailer for “Could You Be an Angel Today” on Christine’s home page)

June 26
SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Satin Lips Set, Travel Size Satin Hands Set and a set of mineral eye colors
QUESTION: What is the name of my African Gray and African Desert Tortosie? (Hint: Read “About Me” in the left hand sidebar)

June 27
SPONSOR: Teralee Deighton
PRIZE: Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (personal essay anthology)
QUESTION: Name the editor of Cup of Comfort for New Mothers

June 28
SPONSOR: C. LaRene Hall
PRIZE: Martha’s Freedom Train (middle grade historical), autographed by both author and illustrator
QUESTION: How many short stories has C. LaRene Hall published in the humorous anthology, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief? (Hint: Look in the left hand sidebar)

June 29
SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden
PRIZE: Courting Miss Lancaster (Regency romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: In his "I Need Friends Friday" interview, what reason does Edward Cullen give for not sleeping at night?

June 30
SPONSOR: Marcia Mickelson
PRIZE: Reasonable Doubt (LDS Suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: In what country was author, Marcia Mickelson born? (Hint: Click on “About Marcia” tab)

July 1
SPONSOR: Kimberly Job
PRIZE: I'll Know You by Heart (romantic suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of my current work in progress? (Hint: Look under “My Books” tab)

July 2
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: Haunts Haven (an LDS ghost story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the town in which the story of Haunts Haven takes place? (Hint: Found on sidebar synopsis of story)

July 3
SPONSOR: Margaret L. Turley RN
PRIZE: Save the Child (Reality Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Where can you listen to an audio interview with Margaret L. Turley about her book, Save the Child? (Hint: Click on link at the bottom of Margaret’s bio on her “About the Author” page)

July 4
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: Illuminations of the Heart (sweet medieval romance, a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist), autographed by author
QUESTION: Who were gifts usually given to on Epiphany during the Middle Ages? (Hint: Click on “Stolen Christmas” tab and read excerpt from “An Epiphany Gift for Robin”)

July 5
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams
PRIZE: Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today (Arizona Glyph Award Finalist and Southwest Book Awards Finalist), a snuggle, giggle children’s picture book
QUESTION: There is a picture of Cindy holding two dragons on her website, The names of the dragons are in the caption below the picture. What are their names? (Hint: Look on the “Book” page)

July 6
SPONSOR: Gail Pallotta
PRIZE: Love Turns the Tide (inspirational romance with suspense), free e-book on CD, with a pendant necklace and matching earrings
QUESTION: Who comes to Cammie O'Shea's rescue after she has a break-in at her unit in Destin, Florida? (Hint: Scroll down to: MORE ABOUT THE BOOK)

July 7
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson, co-author of the soon to be released non-fiction book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
PRIZE: a 30 page manuscript edit
QUESTION: Name three of the "special needs" addressed in (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. (Hint: Click on the "Books" tab for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel).

July 8
SPONSOR: Karen E. Hoover
PRIZE: Sapphire Flute (YA Fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: How many bloggers have posted their reviews of The Sapphire Flute? (Hint: Check out the list under “Sapphire Flute Blog Tour” in the right hand side bar and count ‘em up)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm back!

No, I didn't really fall off the Internet, although I'm sure it seemed that way for a while. Between promotion and the general insanity I call my life, I've felt a little like Alice when she steps through the looking glass. You know, running as fast as I can just to stay in one place. Thankfully, things are slowing down a little.

I haven't just been playing in chaos, however. I've been working as diligently as possible to finish my inspirational time travel romance. It's almost done; only 1,100 words to go. I'm so excited! Of course, once I complete the manuscript, I'll have to get my beta reader to look it over and make sure there aren't any consistency issues. I've done a lot of rearranging and adding to that story, so repeated material or things appearing out of order is a very real possibility. I think I managed to keep it all straight, so hopefully my beta reader will give me a great report. If she loves the story, so much the better. :)

And now, since it's a sunny Sunday afternoon, I'm going to leave this a short post and go enjoy the rest of the day. With as many rainy days as we've had in the last couple of weeks, I plan to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts. Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Autism Awareness Guest Blogger: Christina Deanne

Bitterness and Truth

by Christina Deanne

When my son was in kindergarten, he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. An autism specialist was called in through the school, she performed the standard ASDS test and drew her conclusion as a result.

My husband and I knew that Mark was special. He read when he was three years old. He could tell time at age 2 ½. He knew all the shapes in his Tupperware shape sorter, including “trapezoid.” When he was four, he read the words “drive thru pharmacy” at our local drug store. But something was off.

I struggled with the idea that something was “wrong” and that he was having meltdowns at school. I had to apply myself to get him to play with other children. It did not come naturally. I called and arranged and called and arranged. I read articles on how to help your child make friends. When I could bear it, I read articles on Asperger's and autism. And I did this all without internet and very little support.

At the time of his diagnosis, I had three children five and under. I was overwhelmed and under supported. When the kids were in bed, I cried in my kitchen and had it out with the Lord. I screamed silently in accusation and alternately asked Him to help me. I felt myself slipping away and I couldn't. I had two other small children who needed me.

I remember standing in my kitchen and I told myself, “I will be angry. I can hang on to that. I will be bitter.”

Hindsight is always 20/20, but at the time, I felt I could only cope and think clearly if I was angry. And I did. Anger helped me live and walk and shop and do laundry and read stories and make dinner and put kids to bed. But it scarred my soul.

Three years later. Three years of having my inside ground up and turned to dust. Of going to church and begging God for help and feeling utterly abandoned. Three years later, I turned to my husband and said, “I cannot fix this.” That statement was the beginning of my new life and hope.

It took another couple of years to go online and when I did, I found the community and support that I needed. It took those two years to work that anger out of my system. Even when I was feeling good, I could feel anger's cold tentacles gripping my heart.

Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” says in effect that your problems are your ministry. I believe that to be true. I wish that I could say that I run a great ministry for parents of children with autism. I don't. I'm a stay at home mother, who has a thirteen year old son with Asperger's. And he's doing well, not perfect, but good. But those ugly feelings did their work and God cultivated a heart of encouragement and mercy that I did not have before this dark experience.

What I have learned through all my anger is that God knows all about you and can take it. I was never dishonest with God about my feelings. You cannot be, even if you tried. I was always upfront with Him and never held a thing back. He bore it so patiently and met me with truth. Although I gave Him the dust and ashes of my soul, the Lord turned it into something beautiful.


Christina Deanne is a wife and stay at home mother who lives in the Chicagoland area. She went back to college and is pursuing an Associates of Applied Arts degree. She has written several articles about her experiences as a parent of a child with Asperger's.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 More Common Myths about the Autism Spectrum

In a previous post, I listed five common myths about people on the autism spectrum. Here, I’ll discuss five more common myths and their factual counterparts.

Myth 1: People on the autism spectrum cannot get married and raise a family

Fact: Many autistics are happily married and parents. While it may be more difficult for a person on the autism spectrum to maintain relationships and deal with the stress of raising children, there is no reason to believe they are incapable of living a normal, happy life.

Myth 2: People on the autism spectrum have excellent memories

Fact: This is a common misconception likely based on the seemingly endless streams of trivia some autistics can recite. However, not all autistics have the profound memorization skills often attributed to them. Some have above average memories, some have average memories, and some have memories that resemble a sieve: the information goes in and then goes back out just as quickly.

Myth 3: People on the autism spectrum are unhappy and miserable

Fact: While many autistics do suffer from depression, it is usually not caused by the autism itself. Instead, the depression comes as a result of the treatment of those around them and society as a whole, who look at the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and immediately make assumptions about the persons abilities, or lack thereof, based solely on preconceived misconceptions. Placing limitations on an autistic simply because he is autistic is one of the worst things you can do. No one likes to hear he can’t do something because of something that makes him different; that’s what led to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. People on the autism spectrum who are allowed to be themselves, even if that self isn’t “normal,” tend to be much happier and more well-adjusted than autistics who are forced to conform or held back because of their autism.

Myth 4: People on the autism spectrum want to be cured

Fact: Although many people may call for a cure for autism, few of them are on the spectrum themselves. The majority of autistics are against a cure because they don’t feel they should be cured of who they are. Autism isn’t a disease; it is a way of life. To cure autism is to take away what makes the autistic who she is. Some have equated curing autism with genocide. In a way, that is just what it is, for autism cannot be separated from the autistic and to eradicate autism would eradicate one segment of society. Autism doesn’t need to be cured, it needs to be accepted and autistics allowed to be themselves without fear.

Myth 5: People on the autism spectrum are all savants

Fact: It is true that some autistics have special abilities, but there are no more savants on the autism spectrum than there are in any other group of people. Just like neurotypicals (people not on the autism spectrum), autistics have a range of talents, abilities, and deficits. To believe that every autistic must be an expert at something is to believe a lie. Most autistics are average at a variety of things, just like the rest of society. They may work to develop their talents and become impressive musicians or mathematicians, but the majority aren’t prodigies. They are just people who are good at some things and not so good at others.

The important thing to remember about people on the autism spectrum is that they are people who happen to be different. They aren’t a group to be pitied or looked down upon. Most of them would gladly answer the questions of anyone truly interested in learning about the realities of autism. Above all, treat autistics as you would anyone else and allow for the differences that are sure to make themselves known.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Autism Awareness Guest Blogger: Troy Corley

Yes, Your Asperger's Teen is Crazy!

By Troy Corley
Co-Founder of ASAP Asperger's Support for Adolescents Plus

Shocking to call your teen with Asperger's crazy? Not really. ALL teens are crazy when it comes to the perspective of parents, grandparents and other guardians of our emerging adults.

In fact, "Yes, Your Teen is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind," is the title of one of the best books on raising teens and young adults that I've ever read. Author Michael J. Bradley, a psychologist, details how the most advanced parts of the human brain continue to grow in sporadic spurts up until the age of 25 or so.

These spurts account for the often impulsive, unstable and unpredictable behavior of teens and young adults. And guess what? Teens with Asperger's are no different.

I credit Bradley's book for saving my sanity while raising my teen son with ADD. I credit his book for saving my soul while going through some traumatic times with my Asperger's daughter Em, whose anxiety over sensory issues, social situations and the school system, nearly sent us all over the edge of reason.

Raising a child with Asperger's is no picnic. But neither is raising any child in these times. What I learned from Dr. Bradley was to take a major step back in the middle of chaos and to see my daughter as a person with a teen brain first, and a person on the Autism Spectrum, second.

A key word here is not only "teen" but "person." Teens are people. They deserve the same respect you would give any person. Trying to communicate with a teen and especially inflexible Aspies with an authoritarian "it's my way or the highway" approach, simply doesn't work. In fact, it compounds an already contentious situation rife with anger that can explode into aggressive behavior.

Teens and young adults also need acceptance of who they are. And those on the Autism Spectrum not only need acceptance of who they are but acceptance of how they relate and experience the world around them, because it is different than neurotypical teens and young adults.

It took a crisis with my daughter for me to really get this message. I had to throw out my preconceived ideas about how to raise a teen and what to expect of my teen daughter with Asperger's. By wholeheartedly embracing the concept of "respect and acceptance," I dramatically changed how I related to Em. It not only brought a deeper understanding of who she is but the chaos that once governed our household has dissipated.

Is the chaos still there? At times yes, but these moments of confusion and anxiety for her have become less frequent and less intense. She has become more independent, allowing her step-father and I to be able to carve out time for ourselves as a couple, something we could rarely do before without meltdowns as a result.

With respect and acceptance as my mantra, I now not only love my daughter for who she is but I no longer focus on who she is not. I put my energy into her strengths and interests, which in turn has made her life richer and has encouraged her to pursue creative opportunities that otherwise would have been lost.

I've brought the philosophy of respect and acceptance to a social support group for teens and young adults with Asperger's and High Functioning Autism. ASAP Asperger's Support for Adolescents Plus ( is not another therapy group. It's an organization where young people on the high end of the spectrum can socialize and develop friendships.

Since our ASAP members come from a variety of family backgrounds, it's often a challenge to impart this philosophy of respect and acceptance to the parents, grandparents and other caregivers. Many are reeling from the impact of having a rigid relationship with their children, based on a lack of respect and acceptance. I try to quietly yet firmly get the message across.

When parents ruefully admit that their son loves to play a Pokemon card game, I tell them that's wonderful -- their son has an interest! Respect and accept this and find out who else likes to play and get a group together to play the game once a month. When parents heard the laughter from ASAP members playing a game of Taboo, they were surprised to find that it was their young adult laughing with friends and not the "normal" sister of one of our members. Respect and accept that your child with autism can have friendships and also respect and accept that using the world "normal" in reference to people on the spectrum is neither accurate nor helpful. Ashamed that your child on the spectrum is not attending college or doesn't have a career? Respect and accept that a college degree or a high-paying job does not guarantee a life well-lived.

So this April, Autism Awareness Month, celebrate your teen and young adult on the spectrum. Understand that while their brains are powered by a type of crazy growth that keeps them from effortlessly communicating with their parental units, that you can help them rewire their lives by showering them with the respect, acceptance and love they need to develop into happy adults.

You can contact Troy Corley, a mother of a teen daughter with Asperger's, at